Find Hopkins Later
For this key to emerge, the Cardinals must capitalize on the first key in this post: To utilize playmakers not named DeAndre Hopkins. The hope is that if another player or players contribute consistently early in the game, it will force the Patriots to respect those players.
That can open things up for Hopkins later in the game. And while everyone in the Red Sea knows Hopkins can go up and catch a clutch pass with three defenders draped around him, he will deal with at least two defenders keying on him early in the contest.
However, early on, Murray must find his tight ends, running backs, and slot receivers before airing it out to Hopkins. Murray can also create plays with his legs as he has done in the past. However, he is coming off a sprained AC joint, and it’s wise he doesn’t take too many hits.
It’s also important Murray doesn’t force the ball to Hopkins to make something happen and end up turning the ball over. Murray will find Hopkins open later in the game, but against one of the best defensive minds in NFL history, Murray must play smart football.
No one knows better than Bill Belichick where opponents like to go with the football. It’s hard to outsmart Belichick. But Murray can force his defensive backs away from Hopkins.